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SwRI launches new automotive consortium focusing on fuels and lubricants

24 April 2014

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is launching the Advanced Engine Fluids (AEF) consortium to better understand fuel and lubricant chemistry and its effects on engine combustion. The AEF consortium will research the impact of fuels and lubricants on engine combustion and the requirements needed for optimizing future engine technologies.

Pistons
These automotive pistons show ring land damage caused by low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI). LSPI is one of several industry concerns being addressed by SwRI in the AEF consortium. Click to enlarge.

The consortium launches this summer and will run for four years. The AEF will hold its first meeting on 7 July 2014, at SwRI in San Antonio.

Sharing costs through a consortium gives companies access to more research than would be feasible if funded individually, according to Thomas Briggs, Ph.D., a manager in the Engine Systems Research and Development Section in the Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division. Also, members will receive free licensing for any patents that are produced from the consortium’s work.

Engine technology is changing so rapidly that it has become difficult for fuel and lubricant technologies to keep up. The new technologies being applied to engines are dramatically changing the demands placed on the fluids. We are also seeing more and more evidence that the chemical and physical details of the fluids significantly impacts engine performance.

Our research will focus on ways to accelerate improvements for fuels and lubricants to keep up with emerging fuel economy standards. SwRI’s decades-long experience in fuels and lubricant testing combined with our industry-leading research on advanced engines gives us unique insight into the challenges facing modern fuel and lubricant companies.

—Thomas Briggs

SwRI has managed a number of automotive consortia, including two long-running programs: High-Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine (HEDGE) consortium, now in its third phase (earlier post), which seeks to improve gasoline engine technology for heavy-duty applications, and the Clean High-Efficiency Diesel Engine VI consortium, the industry’s longest-running diesel research consortium, which develops efficiency and emissions solutions for future diesel engines.

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